Drumming and dance show to raise funds for AIDS in Africa
More than a dozen University of Guelph students, staff and faculty members are involved a Feb. 21 performance in War Memorial Hall to celebrate Black History Month and raise funds for the fight against AIDS in Africa. The River Bride incorporates traditional African dance, drumming and storytelling.
The show is the culmination of the talents of Adowa and Fulé Badoe, a couple from Ghana who decided to start sharing their culture with the Guelph community two years ago by offering adult and children's dance and drumming lessons. The River Bride was written, directed and choreographed by Adwoa, a local children's author and storyteller.
"It's really a migration story of people being driven away from their land by drought, touching on ideas of sacrifice, love and chivalry," says English professor Daniel Fischlin, who is drumming in the show. "So in many ways, it comments on the larger issues around the African diaspora that both Fulé and Adwoa have lived."
The dances that will be featured in The River Bride include the Lamban, Sofa, Gahu and Baboobo. "They're all traditional dances that suit the theme of the show," says Adwoa. The percussionists, led by Fulé, create the rhythms for the dancers using djembes, djundjuns, kpanlogos, gangokuis, shekeres and shakers.
U of G members involved with the dancing and drumming span the campus. "It's been very exciting to see this community form that's made possible by the university being here," said Fischlin. "We've got this really interesting international mix of people from different cultural heritages who've come together around African drumming and dance."
As the classes grew, the Badoes created a performing group called Jiwani to enable their students to perform. Since 2002, Jiwani has performed benefits for the Guelph Food Bank, Save the Children and AIDS in Africa.
The group has working to bring Gilberto Morales Chiong — a member of a famous Cuban group called AfroCuba de Matanzas — to Guelph for the upcoming performance. "We're trying to create a really unique show musically, one that hybridizes West African music with the Afro-Cuban tradition," said Fischlin. "We're hoping The River Bride will show off some of the musical collisions."
Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $10 and can be purchased in advance at email@example.com or 519-803-0538. For more information, visit the website www.afroculture.com.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.